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Mozilla Privacy

Mozilla Backtracks On Third-Party Cookie Blocking 173

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the w3c-google-mozilla-sell-out-together dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Remember when Mozilla announced that it would soon block third-party cookies by default? Not so fast. According to a new behind-the-scenes report in the San Francisco Chronicle, 'it's not clear when it will happen — or if it will at all.' Mozilla's leadership is apparently no longer committed to the feature, and the related Cookie Clearinghouse collaboration is delayed well into 2014. Who's to blame? According to Dan Auerbach, Staff Technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, 'The ad industry has a ton of people, basically lobbyists, who spent a lot of time trying to convince Mozilla this was bad for the economy... I think they were somewhat successful.' Not a good showing for the purportedly pro-user organization."
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Mozilla Backtracks On Third-Party Cookie Blocking

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  • Mozilla is not free (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Mozilla is not free, they get a boatloads of money from various organizations which depend on AD tracking.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      What does AD stand for?

    • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @10:06AM (#45344591)

      More like ONE organization (Google). At one point, they were getting over 90% of their funding from Google alone. I imagine that may have had something to do with this reversal.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I would love to see an organization like wikipedia take over a browser. Let them do their once a year fundraiser. They could block whatever they like out of the box.

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          Because wikipedia does so well being independent, along with all the PR folks hired to edit articles for corporations and edit them negatively for said corporations' competition?

          I would not like to see it happen, wikipedia can't even manage the shit the're responsible for.

          • Because wikipedia does so well being independent, along with all the PR folks hired to edit articles for corporations and edit them negatively for said corporations' competition?

            Does that really affect how Wikipedia runs, though?

            Sure, their content is often biased by monied interests, but that goes hand-in-hand with making a publicly-edited encylopedia. It would be difficult to crack down on that without at the same time infringing on the rights of individuals.

            But has Wikipedia ever backed down or changed i

            • by poetmatt (793785)

              The problem is, it's the internet. The ability to subvert a focus due to competition is easily, easily noticeable.

              Look at google, MS and apple articles for an easy example of that. Google's have all this "criticism" and "controversy" and almost daily MS and apple have PR folks trying to remove said categories. It's not accidental, it's actually known by sock puppets. Internet access multiplies the ability of monied interests to subvert pure and unbiased interests - so no, it's not the same as a publicly ed

        • Wikipedia?

          All of a sudden Jimmy Whales' huge face would appear over your entire browser window begging for money.

          NO WAY.

          • by seyyah (986027)

            Wikipedia?

            All of a sudden Jimmy Whales' huge face would appear over your entire browser window begging for money.

            Yeah, and he'd be asking you to stuff it into his blow hole!

          • I don't really understand the problem people have with Wikipedia's method of funding. Begging so a free service can remain free without advertisers since apparently as I've heard parroted over and over again, having ads on Wikipedia would somehow compromise everything it stands for? So what?

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Disclaimer: I work for an ad company.

          You know, I'm not sure that Mozilla backtracking on this is such a bad idea. Actually, it may have been a bad idea to announce it in the first place. Fearing the loss of third party cookies (which IMO is not that much of a privacy issue) ad companies were forced to develop alternative methods to track people. Now, the cat is out of the bag and this tracking is already effective on all Safari browsers (which have always blocked third-party cookies - take that Apple haters

          • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @10:53AM (#45345037)

            Your first line proves you can't be impartial.
            Third party cookies are a huge privacy issue. Alternative methods to track are not something anyone was forced to do. Advertisers have no need to track users. they lacked that with old media and survived.

            Personally the law should step in and make this illegal.

            Also please take Bill Hick's advice at your earliest convenience.

            • "Your first line proves you can't be impartial."

              Bullshit. Just because one is employed by in an industry in no way invalidates their truthfulness or impartiality off the job.

              The rest of the post may give you that opinion, but his simply working in an industry shouldn't.
          • by sqrt(2) (786011)

            If their new magic pixie dust is browser fingerprinting, then that's going to be ineffective in a few years also. That problem has already been solved. You can now configure your browser not to pass any extra info in its requests; no list of fonts, no list of add-ons, no plugin versions, no time zones, only a generic (and often deliberately inaccurate) useragent, etc. Flash cookies are blocked, too. Cache is disabled. Even first party cookies get deleted when the tab is closed.

            What's left?

            Granted this isn't

        • I would love to see an organization like wikipedia take over a browser. Let them do their once a year fundraiser. They could block whatever they like out of the box.

          I can see a Wikizilla browser now:

          Don't agree with a feature, edit it. then watch it get reverted by a later edit

          Features get renamed by some drive by joker who thinks it's , to be Frank, err Francis,funny

          Click on a feature and get the popular "This feature is a stub and needs more coding to work. Can you help?"

          Opening up history and getting "cite needed" since ether all are single sources of information

        • by plover (150551)

          I would love to see an organization like wikipedia take over a browser. Let them do their once a year fundraiser. They could block whatever they like out of the box.

          A fundraiser? You think a bake sale would raise the $5,391,119 dollars [guidestar.org] per year they spend?

          Perhaps if they sold cookies -- oh, wait.

  • Internet sales and related advertising churn a hell of a lot of money through the world economy. I'm playing devil's advocate here, but is it possible that Mozilla saw that there was some merit to what these lobbyists were saying and made the decision based on the fact that as maker of one of the biggest browsers in the world their decisions really can affect economies on a global scale?
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Sales and advertising are very different.
      I buy eneloops/tenergy batteries on amazon, I have never in my life seen any advertising for these batteries.

      • by game kid (805301)

        Indeed the only advertising (if that) I've seen for those batteries (I've also bought 'em) have been comments on...well...Amazon.

        But yeah, adders* don't need to track. They were doing just fine with fun jingles in TV show breaks, SHOOT THE MONKEY internet banners, and not taking up so much time that said TV shows had to trim their openers and end-credits to absurdly short lengths...while still having to product-place anyway.

        *Just for brevity, but given how their venom has brought even Mozilla to their knee

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well, surely if the advertisers didn't get money they couldn't use that money to lobby for keeping 3rd party cookies in mozilla!

    • by ve3oat (884827)

      That's alright, Mozilla. You make your choice and I make mine. For a long time now, I have blocked ALL 3rd party cookies. Sure there are a handful of sites that I can't use, like my local city's newspaper site, but I don't really need them. I believe that no one should have to accept 3rd party cookies to use a website. If they insist on 3rd party cookies, then I won't use it.

    • by jbmartin6 (1232050) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @11:32AM (#45345389)

      churn a hell of a lot of money through the world economy

      This is an (implied) false dichotomy. It is not as if, without advertising in this way, economic activity would just disappear. The money would simply get spent on other things that people decide that they want. An economy is essential, yes, but no business model/music label/Wall Street bank is required for that.

    • mozilla has ties to google.

      that's all there needs to be said. if you work 'with' google, you better NOT fuck with their ad revenue.

    • More "effective" advertisement does not magically create new revenue in the economy. Companies may increase their marketing budget to some extend if they see that advertisement now works better, but if some types of ads get more effective and others don't, then in reality what happens mostly is that the marketing budget is shifted from the least to the most effective medium. The lesser effective media may change the price for ads as a result.

      The result is a race to the bottom, as we have already seen o
  • Although a good idea in general, one totally not needed.

    Turn on permanent private/incognito Browsing mode. Done.

    I let sites I visit set whatever obnoxious privacy-stealing cookies they want - Because those cookies cease to exist outside the current tab.
    • by mdm42 (244204)
      Ghostery plugin is your friend here.
      • Alternately, you could use Albine's [abine.com] DoNotTrackMe [mozilla.org] add-on if you don't want to use an add-on funded by advertisers and businesses paying them for ad data and compliance

        Although from what I understand, the only info that both apps send back to the mothership is generic usage data, so the risk (or lack thereof) is probably the same for both.

    • Self-destructing cookies [mozilla.org]. They go away as soon as you close the tab.

      I have that on my Firefox browser, and I have a Chrome browser that clears everything on exit. Between them, I can surf anywhere and keep tracking to a minimum. Won't stop the NSA, of course, but...

  • Someone at the Mozilla Foundation must have found a horse's head in his bed.
    Ahhh those "lobbyists" and their quirky italian accent... That'sa badda forr dee economee...
  • by Arker (91948) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @10:08AM (#45344621) Homepage

    "purportedly pro-user organization"

    Yeah right. Someone hasnt been paying attention to them for many years, it does appear.

  • Thick Skulls (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rtkluttz (244325) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @10:10AM (#45344637) Homepage

    Why should web marketers feel entitled to additional data just because of the media change. When I read a newspaper, marketers can't even tell I read an ad much less who I am or what I did before or after reading the ad. They have the ability to tell the browser requested the ad, that should be all info they get about anyone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Charliemopps (1157495)

      They are willing to pay more for the advert if they know how many people see it. That's what the internet does for them, it makes marketing more efficient and measurable.

      • by musixman (1713146)
        Exactly someone who understands how advertising online actually works.
    • Re:Thick Skulls (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @11:29AM (#45345359)

      Why should web marketers feel entitled to additional data just because of the media change. When I read a newspaper, marketers can't even tell I read an ad much less who I am or what I did before or after reading the ad. They have the ability to tell the browser requested the ad, that should be all info they get about anyone.

      The simple answer is "MONEY." The more they know, the more they can charge.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Why should web marketers feel entitled to additional data just because of the media change. When I read a newspaper, marketers can't even tell I read an ad much less who I am or what I did before or after reading the ad. They have the ability to tell the browser requested the ad, that should be all info they get about anyone.

      You should replace Marketers with Google, since Google owns like 98% of the online marketing and advertising market (through AdSense, DoubleClick and MANY other advertising companies an

  • All open source projects are heavily vulnerable to bribery; honesty alone triumphs.

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4411077&cid=45334083 [slashdot.org]

    Ad industry goons have gazillions more cash to throw than ideologists in the open source world can say no to.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      How is that different than Free/libre software or commercial projects?

      The ad industry has lots of money and bribes developers of all kinds, or at least tries too.

      • by jkrise (535370)

        How is that different than Free/libre software or commercial projects?

        The motivation for developing a non-free commercial software is to make money; not necessarily by making a superior product.

        Open source code is developed to engineer superior products, period. Which is why open source alternatives are more largely adopted by users than proprietary ones. Hence the ad industry needs to bribe open source developers; to make them foresake their ideals, and compromise their users.

  • Dan Auerbach? That guy makes great music...

  • Time to fork (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hebertrich (472331) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @10:25AM (#45344789)

    Time to fork Firefox and have a totally privacy minded browser , no advertisement , no user tracking possible and no third party cookies.
    We need to be secure and free from the tyranny of advertisers and spying agencies. Time to make a browser that have OUR ( We the Users ) interests in mind.
    It's time to make a fork and may the man who has the interests of the users in mind win .

    • It already exists. It called TOR (which uses firefox btw)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Tor Project makes an effort to cleanse Firefox for all privacy invasive "features" prior to adding it into the Tor Browser Bundle. I guess that could serve as a good basis for a privacy-oriented fork.

    • Re:Time to fork (Score:5, Informative)

      by higuita (129722) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @10:45AM (#45344979) Homepage

      humm... why fork?

      the option to manually disable third party cookies is still there, it's not just enabled by default. Other than ads companies, big sites also use cookies between their multiple sites, changing that default could break big sites not ready for that change, throwing even more pressure for mozilla not change the default (breaking current sites is always very dangerous and tricky)

      but anyway, firefox is one of the most privacy oriented browsers. If you install the add-ons noscript + requestpolicy and/or ghostery you are blocking almost all ways of tracking. add the "better privacy" to the list to also remove flash cookies (if you allow then) and be done.

      having all this by default is hard, not only because the user-friendly, but because could rage many companies against mozilla if done alone... now try to talk to google to do the same to chrome (and by the way, disable the auto-submit of everything one writes to the url bar to the google servers)

      • by gsnedders (928327)

        Opera tried changing to blocking third-party cookies by default, and had it break a lot of major Russian sites. Needless to say, the change lasted from 10.50 to 10.51 --- with less than a week between those releases.

      • the option to manually disable third party cookies is still there, it's not just enabled by default.

        its not sticky, either. I use prefbar for firefox (have been since 1.x or 2.x days) and I like being able to click on a direct widget to enable/disable cookies, jscript, animations (!), etc.

        problem is, if you disable cookies, it turns them all off (good) but when you click the prefbar cookie button, it re-enables 3rd party again! you have to do into prefs (menu) and turn it off, which defeats the whole conv

      • by MobyDisk (75490)

        The problem is that, since it is the default, people are coding their sites to rely on it. I keep finding discussion forums that don't work without them. Having this insecure default corrupts the entire system. The worst-case scenario is that you won't be able to purchase anything online without having 3rd-party cookies enabled, because devs just assume it is on.

        • by higuita (129722)

          Agree.. that is why we had several tried to disable that kind of cookies.

          They should never exist in the first place... but as they exists right now, its hard to kill that beast!

          the top usage for then is for sure the tracking of users, but is not the only usage. if no browser break that feature, not site will fix this... if no one fix their site, it's very hard for the browsers to change the default

  • Informed users have any number of plugins to ensure their privacy while browsing. I personally use ghostery (breaks a minimum of sites), Adblock (currently disabled, but doesn't reall break anything) and NoScript (which makes browsing hell, but does a damn good job). Plus I block third party cookies and clear all other cookies on browser restart, clear all flash cookies on restart via Ghostery (and store them in a ramdisk for good measure) and disable HTTP referers (depressingly spelled incorrectly). Nothin

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @10:31AM (#45344845) Homepage

    The real problem is that sites are starting to expect this behavior by default. Someone with a lot of clout needs to ship a browser with 3rd-party cookies disabled, so sites stop relying on it.

    When did Mozilla enable 3rd-party cookies? The original Netscape cookie specification back in the 90s specifically stated rules to prevent 3rd-party cookie usage. Yet somehow today it is on by default in most browsers. How and why did that change? There's simply no reason for it.

    • original web was NOT supposed to be wizzywig. it was supposed to tag elements and let the browser render. that separation of content and format was important!

      but now we went all WW and so the web is yet another useless advertising medium, owned by Business and taken away from where it got its roots (techies).

      programming for IE or FF or whatever browser is a stupid idea, but everyone accepts it as a way of how things have to be. sigh ;(

  • The ad industry has a ton of people, basically lobbyists, who spent a lot of time trying to convince Mozilla this was bad for the economy... I think they were somewhat successful.' Not a good showing for the purportedly pro-user organization.

    The organization I most expected to be working towards our privacy and telling lobbyists to piss off has now sold out, apparently.

    Do you have any idea how many metrics and tracking companies have their shit on pages? Do you think that we want all of that crap so that s

  • by PineHall (206441) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @11:11AM (#45345211)
    Apple's Safari already blocks third party cookies by default, and it is the number one browser on mobile devices. So why is the advertising industry is fighting hard to prevent Mozilla from blocking third party cookies by default while keeping quiet about Apple's Safari browser? Something is wrong here!
    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      Apple's Safari already blocks third party cookies by default, and it is the number one browser on mobile devices. So why is the advertising industry is fighting hard to prevent Mozilla from blocking third party cookies by default while keeping quiet about Apple's Safari browser? Something is wrong here!

      Lots of 'normal' users talk about how much they hate viewing websites on their phones and 'need' apps. In a conversation with them they might say "Do you have the app for this website", and I'll say "No, it's a website, I just go to the website". To which they respond with tears in their eyes "But the app is soooo much better. It's more than a website". Most people refuse to visit a website on their phone, they only want to access the internet through apps. So the amount of browsing that occurs in the mobil

      • Not even just Apple. The Android store lets you see in finer detail exactly what each app needs permissions for in order to run. Go download 'Free Jungle Race Birds Game' or whatever is in fashion right now and look at them - half those games require access to your phone contacts.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Mobile is different. You practically pay out of your own pocket for every additional thing downloaded to your device. Advertisers are more cautious about what they say and do for mobile, in particular because they don't want users to realize this yet. Everyone is still trying to find a better strategy.

  • Every single time something sh#tty happens which adversely affects the common population, there is a lobbyist. Has anything 'good' ever happened when these people were involved?

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